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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - House Adoption Of

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P 030523Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 003557

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR I/RF, PA/PR/FPC/W, IIP/G/EA, EAP/PD, R/MR,
EAP/J, EAP/P, PM;
USTR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
TREASURY FOR OASIA/IMI;
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA;
CP BUTLER OKINAWA FOR AREA FIELD OFFICE;
PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO JA
SUBJECT: TOKYO MEDIA REACTION - HOUSE ADOPTION OF
"COMFORT WOMEN" RESOLUTION


LEAD STORIES: Most Wednesday morning papers front-paged

the results of their post-Upper House election opinion
polls, which showed the public split over PM Abe's
decision to stay on.

1. "House Adoption of 'Comfort Women' Resolution Could
Damage US-Japan Relations" The business-oriented Nihon
Keizai editorialized (8/1): "The adoption by the US
House of Representatives of a resolution calling for
the GOJ to formally apologize for the 'comfort women'
issue could damage US-Japan relations. This is a
worrisome situation.... Moves that lower the image of
Japan in the US or lead to the rise of anti-American
sentiment in Japan would harm both countries. Aside
from the 'comfort women' issue, there have been other
negative factors in both countries. In Japan, there is
strong dissatisfaction with the Bush administration's
conciliatory policy toward North Korea. Ichiro Ozawa,
leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan

(DPJ), which won a plurality in Sunday's Upper House
election, expressed opposition to an extension of
Japan's Antiterrorism Special Measures Law. The US
would be disappointed if Japan were to suspend the
Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling operations in
the Indian Ocean for US-led coalition ships engaged in
the antiterrorism campaign in and around Afghanistan."

2. "Concern over Misunderstandings of Historical Facts"

An editorial in the top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri
commented (8/1): "The US House adopted the 'comfort
women' resolution, apparently based on
misunderstandings of historical facts. We can hardly
overlook the resolution, even if it is nonbinding....
As a matter of course, the US-Japan alliance is
extremely important to Japan's national interest. In
addition to their close military and economic ties, the

US and Japan share the values of democracy and human
rights. Nevertheless, the GOJ must clearly refute any
mistaken facts. Should mistaken historical facts
prevail, this will only form the basis for future
trouble in the bilateral relationship."

3. "PM Abe Should Issue New Statement Accepting House
Resolution" The liberal Asahi editorialized (8/1): "The

US House of Representatives adopted a resolution urging

the GOJ to formally apologize for the 'comfort women'
issue. The resolution stated: 'The brutality and scale
of the pre-WWII comfort women system of forced military

prostitution by the GOJ was unprecedented and one of
the the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th
century.'... There are concerns in the US that Japan
still harbors prewar values, prompting a group of
influential US lawmakers to send a letter to the
Japanese ambassador in Washington expressing concern
over former PM Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni Shrine.
Moreover, the ascension of PM Abe as Koizumi's
successor heightened the US sense of foreboding.... The

TOKYO 00003557 002 OF 002

resolution seeks a formal apology from PM Abe. Silence
on his part will only aggravate the situation.... The
best course he can take at present is to issue a
statement of apology at home and abroad."

SCHIEFFER

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